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July 5 marks 10 years since Wisconsin passed the Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law

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Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 3:04 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - This Sunday will mark 10 years since Wisconsin’s Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law went into effect.

The historic law has since prohibited smoking in enclosed public spaces, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services credits the law for helping drop the percent of smokers by a significant number. In 2008, before the law passed, 20 percent of Wisconsin adults smoked cigarettes, but by 2018, the rate had dropped to 16 percent.

“Wisconsin is breathing easier today thanks to this law, but we know there are many people in our state who still smoke,” said DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm in a release. “We urge smokers to take advantage of the programs available to help them to quit, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people who smoke are believed to be more susceptible to the virus, and can become severely ill with it.”

The DHS adds that rates of smoking in high schools dropped from nearly 21 percent of nearly 5 percent in 2008. Rising taxes for cigarettes in the state also contributed to the decline in smoking, according to the DHS.

Many municipalities have passed ordinances that also prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and vaping in restaurants and bars. The DHS says those local laws may keep second-hand smoke away from an estimated 2 million Wisconsin residents, or about 36 percent of the state’s population. Nearly 5 percent of Wisconsin adults use e-cigarettes, and nearly 22 percent of Wisconsin adults have used them, the DHS reports.

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